Page last updated at 11:34 GMT, Friday, 26 March 2010

January snow cost Royal Berkshire Hospital 1.4m

Royal Berkshire Hospital in snow (pic taken by Mark Cavill)
Staff worked extra hours to clear the backlog. Photo by Mark Cavill

The snow and cold weather in January cost the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading £1.4m, the NHS trust that runs it has revealed.

Clive Walsh, interim chief operating officer, said 2,000 outpatient appointments were cancelled and 130 scheduled operations were put on hold.

The lost income and additional costs incurred amounted to £1.4m, he said.

Mr Walsh said the appointment backlog had now been cleared and the cancelled operations had been rescheduled.

He said treating fewer patients had meant it could claim less money from the primary care trust.

It had also paid staff extra for working overtime to clear the backlog of appointments while there were also bills for transport and hotels.

'Very grateful'

He added: "Overall in the two periods of snow, we lost about 2,000 outpatient appointments."

Mr Walsh apologised to the people who had attended their appointments but were not able to be seen.

He said: "Most people got the message [not to attend the hospital unless it was an emergency] and we're very grateful that they didn't come.

"I know that there were some people who really struggled through the bad weather to get to the hospital and unfortunately some of those didn't get to see the specialists that they'd wanted to see.

"We were very grateful to our staff for working additional hours, being very flexible and putting on additional clinics.

"We are also very grateful to our patients who, by and large, were extremely understanding and also flexible about when they were going to be coming back in."

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